What makes Software Quality Assurance indispensable for Electronic Health Record systems?

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The healthcare sector by far remains one of the busiest and life-critical sectors to work for. It’s certainly not by choice, but by force, that the practitioners in this segment have to consider innovative measures to ensure customer convenience, security of data, and ease of operations. Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems or Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems are formats that have been increasingly considered to strategically and electronically segment patient’s health information in a digital format. This is a mechanism to meticulously use patient records to design relevant care management programs. But, are EHR systems as easy and simple to interpret and apply? How can Software Quality Assurance smoothen this process?

Essential features of EHR systems and the need for Software Quality Assurance

In terms of the functions and benefits of EHR, Health Level 7 has been attempting to define its minimum features. It is essentially to enable physicians to practice better medicine and spur up the bottom line.

Just to name a few, EHR is being implemented to identify and maintain a patient record, manage patient demographics, confirm with guidelines and protocols, maintain problem lists and medication lists, maintain patient history, manage clinical documents and notes, source external clinical documents, create care plans, guidelines, protocols and patient-specific care plans, and create and record patient-specific instructions.

All the above mentioned functions are indisputably health and life-critical, hence, the ongoing processes and attempts to test EHR are important to ensure precision with diverse patient records. It is pretty evident that the testing cannot be limited to test environments and the production environment where the clinicians operate. It has to go a step further towards hardware and software systems that might or might not communicate cross-functionally.

In order to ensure a foolproof healthcare software testing strategy, there should be integration with the real-time production environment and not just a virtualized or emulated universe. With processes such as Continuous Testing and Continuous Integration, testing and development teams can plan an incremental release of the upgrade, tester accounts, reporting patterns, or release of a new software.

Taking into account these requirements, a lot of focus is emphasized on the performance, accessibility, and security of the EHR systems.

 

Core areas in EHR systems that need Software Quality Assurance

Testing specialists need to evaluate EHR performance across various levels in order to ensure smooth transition of data and smooth implementation of the system. This requires testing of the hardware, operating system, network and server, and infrastructure. A lot of parameters have to be considered to confirm that the system works by your rules and delivers the expected output.

With reference to Compatibility Testing in the healthcare segment, even a hardware architecture can impact the performance of EHR, where the testers have to plug in multiple hardware configurations in order to assess the system’s compatibility. Similar logic goes with testing the EHR across various operating systems (OS) that could be operational within a healthcare organization. It could be Windows, macOS, Linux, or any other trending OS.

EHR system needs to be tested across the network and the server, as there could be compatibility, performance, or security issues across various hardware platforms, web servers and applications servers within the organization. To name a few, it could involve platforms such as, Lenovo ThinkServer, Microsoft ISA Server, Dell PowerEdge, HP ProLiant, Windows Server, or SonicWall.

While testing across infrastructure software, EHRs are expected to connect and interact with other patient-related systems. Hence, it is important to check their performance and compatibility across department-specific systems or any other system within the operating environment. Similarly, this goes for testing across browsers to gauge cross-browser compatibility testing. It comprises confirmation of user experience (UX) consistency and ensuring that the overall system is functional and accessible across trending browsers.

How can you possibly miss out on Database or Data in this entire EHR environment? EHR is responsible for constantly generating massive chunks of data about the patients. Hence, you need to ensure seamless flow of data from the EHR to the database or related system. There could be constant data entry, data extraction, data restructuring or formatting, report generation, and much more processing of data for a healthcare organization’s day-to-day needs.

This can be achieved with Database compatibility testing or Database testing. Database testing supports you in understanding and ensuring performance consistency, speed, and reliability while exchanging information with the specific database.

In the current phase of device and digital proliferation you cannot skip checking the EHR system’s compatibility, performance, functionality, and security across diverse devices. You need to check whether the system loads across a plethora of devices through various applications used within an organization. For instance, IoT devices, Medical image scanners, smartphones, and tablets. Further, with reference to smartphones, whether the system loads smoothly across Android, iOS, Blackberry, and Symbian.

Most of the healthcare organizations are still struggling with their EHRs, as the electronic system for generating patient records keeps on evolving. That’s the very reason why continuous testing, continuous deployment, and continuous integration plays a critical role. These practices help to remove all the doubts and enable organizations to ensure that the software is in sync with their internal IT infrastructure. Also check and ensure that the legacy systems are not creating any hindrances in its performance and seamless operations.

A survey of health specialists states, ‘health specialists aren’t happy using a clogged system and working extra hours just to make sure patient records are comprehensive. This can make them prone to burnouts and mistakes. At the same time, organizations can find the way out of this vicious loop through timely EHR compatibility testing to fix interoperability gaps before the system is deployed.’

Cigniti’s Digital assurance & testing solutions address the multi-faceted needs of digital transformation testing. We assure digital transformations by conducting comprehensive testing across your digital value chain encompassing digital marketing, web portals, web content, digital assets, web analytics, and the entire digital ecosystem – which includes cloud, mobility, big data, and connected devices.